I never thought I would like beer as much as I do. I get a lot of enjoyment out of trying beers from local breweries around me and basking in their relaxed and casual atmospheres. Being a huge bookworm, I also love enjoying a tasty beverage while getting lost in a story. Whether it’s a beer, a glass of wine, or some other cocktail, I think alcohol pairs great with a good book.
In honor of National Beer Day I’ve decided to round up seven classic books and pair them with a beer for your enjoyment. So, if you’re planning on rereading any of these books, grab its alcoholic companion too!
Side Note: Please drink responsibly.
1. The Great Gatsby – American IPA
The American IPA is a perfect companion for The Great Gatsby. This beer has citrusy, fruity notes that make it a refreshing beer to enjoy thanks to the variety of American hops brewed into it. It’s an incredibly successful beer style, having been a top seller in US supermarkets and liquor stores for years. Just like we all wrote in our high school English papers about Gatsby, this beer is “all about the American dream.”
You can enjoy this beer while reading The Great Gatsby, or even sip it while longingly gazing at that weird green light across the bay which may or may not be a metaphor for the unattainability of the American dream. Your choice.
2. Dracula – Irish Stout
For a horror novel like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, you need a darker beer. It’s only right that you enjoy an Irish stout while reading the work of a famous Irish author! Irish stouts have a dark, roasty flavor and yet are very smooth due to the way they’re brewed- a perfect match for Dracula.
I’m uh, fairly certain Count Dracula might say those same things about human blood, but we’ll just skip past that thought. Maybe he can switch to Irish stouts instead and save everyone a lot of trouble? Just a thought, Drac. Could be a good idea.
3. The Lord of the Rings – Classic Blonde Ale
It would be sacrilege if I didn’t include J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy in this list. We all know our favorite Hobbits love their ales, which is why I think a classic blonde ale is the perfect companion to this beloved series. Blonde ales are easy-drinking beers that are simple and refreshing, and are sometimes brewed with honey or fruits for a touch of sweetness.
Blonde ales are reflective of Hobbits’ simple, relaxed and easy lifestyles, and I think we can all agree Hobbits enjoy beers that aren’t too fancy and easy to drink. Plus, they’re great to drink after telling everyone at your birthday party that you don’t know half of them as well as you should like, and like less than half of them half as well as they deserve.
4. The Old Man and the Sea – Bourbon Stout
I also couldn’t make this list and not include Ernest Hemingway, who famously loved his alcohol. For Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea (or any of Hemingway’s work, really) a bourbon barrel-aged stout is the wise choice. It’s a beer that has the faint flavors of bourbon.
Hemingway’s alcohol preferences included just about everything from to beer, cocktails, whiskey, and bourbon. The bourbon stout just seems like the obvious choice, since it includes beer and a hint of bourbon. Cheers, Hemingway!
5. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland – Fruited Sour
For an out-of-the-box story like a girl falling through a rabbit hole into a strange, psychedelic world, you need an out-of-the-box brew. Though people either love them or hate them, a fruited sour beer pairs best with Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland.
Fruited sours feature vibrant flavor combinations that go great with the vibrant world of Wonderland featured in Carroll’s famous novel. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland are anything but boring, just like fruited sours. Don’t lose your head while drinking these!
6. Frankenstein – Porter
For Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, you definitely need a porter. Porters are described as malty dark ales with flavorful but complex characteristics. What’s more complicated than discerning what it means to be human in Frankenstein? The porter’s complex flavor profile pairs nicely with Shelley’s complex characters.
It’s a nice beer to enjoy while pondering the ins and outs of human nature in your quest to be accepted in society rather than feared. Not up for that? Drink it while conducting a science experiment that’ll produce a result which will inevitably drive you mad. Or maybe just read Frankenstein while drink a porter. That might be better.
7. Pride and Prejudice – Hard Cider
This last one was tough because I wouldn’t normally associate beer with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but I figured it would be a fun challenge. I mean, there’s beer drinkers who like Pride and Prejudice, right?
Anyway, I think a hard cider goes nicely with this book. And before all you beer connoisseurs lose your minds, yes, I know hard ciders aren’t considered beers. But hear me out, you always see them on beer lists, don’t you? I say we let hard ciders join the club on this one. They’re crisp and refreshing, just like this classic enemies-to-lovers story.
So, What Are You Drinking and Reading Today?
As if choosing a book to read wasn’t hard enough, now you’ve got to decide what beer you’re in the mood for too. Sorry to make the decision a little more difficult, but hey, at least you have a perfectly paired beverage to enjoy? I’d say it’s a win-win situation here.
Happy reading, and happy drinking on this National Beer Day!